Disgraced FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) trial is set to begin on October 3. However, a recent development suggests that his trial date could be pushed back.
According to a Reuters report, Judge Lewis Kaplan, the judge in charge of SBF’s case, said he could consider delaying the trial slated for October 3 to give SBF and his lawyers more time to review discovery documents and prepare their defense.
Judge Kaplan told SBF’s lawyers they could ask for a postponement if they needed more time. However, he clarified that there is no guarantee that he would grant it as the defendant must prove there is “a need” to postpone the trial date. To prove this, they must go beyond just stating the number of discovery materials they need to review. According to the Judge, there has to be “more meat on those bones.”
A virtual hearing had taken place on August 30 to rule on the pending requests by the FTX founder’s lawyers. They had earlier asked that the government be precluded from using certain documents as evidence when the trial commences.
The defense counsel had alleged the government had produced “an additional 4 million pages of discovery” on August 24, which they believe their client won’t be able to finish reviewing before his trial begins.
However, the judge denied this request, noting that the government had clarified that they would obtain information continuously.
Interestingly, before his bail was revoked, SBF had access to the Google documents, which form part of the documents the defense asks to be precluded as evidence. The judge stated that the defense’s alleged “deluge of documents” was “seriously exaggerated.”
SBF and his lawyers will have to file a motion by the end of this week if they intend to ask for a postponement. The Judge also suggested that any postponement would likely move the trial date to March 11, 2024, subject to approval by the Bahamas government.
During the hearing, SBF’s lawyers asked for a temporary release for their client, stating that they had no faith in the provisions the government had made for SBF.
Meanwhile, the prosecutors argued that they had made enough provisions for SBF as he had 70 hours a week to do discovery. Furthermore, his lawyers were allowed to visit him seven days a week, and they provided him with a laptop that he could use every day from about 8 AM to 7 PM
Judge Kaplan stated he wasn’t going to rule on the defendant’s application just yet and asked for a joint report to be presented to him by September 5 as to the “exact situation” at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) where SBF is being held.
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